Jimjilbang – The Neighbourhood Bath House

There is a mysteriously looking building perched on top of along flight of stairs in the Itaewon neighbourhood. It looks like a temple but the actual content inside proofs to be not as holy.

It is the traditional Korean bathhouse, or jimjilbang and offers the Korean community and the general public a place to spend time with family in the heated stone rooms, public bath, relaxation areas and Korean restaurant.

Yes, I was tired after all the shopping and still on medication but I demand a relaxing treatment for all that walking! :p

Raymond offered 2 options, either the pleasure of modern sauna and spa treatment at Hamiliton Hotel or a more traditional experience at the local Jimjilbang. I decided to settle for the latter.

Finally, after walking past the building over a few nights we were finally going to walk up it’s steps! Thrilling!

We were charged 5000 won per person for the simple use of the sauna and spa facilities. If we were to sleep over, it would cost us another 5000 won. Pretty reasonable, I can actually consider using the Jimbilbang as my accommodation in Korea next time. Haha

We were given towels and shoe locker keys upon payment. After depositing our shoes, we proceed up a flight of stairs on the designated male side to the locker room.

The interior is designed such that the designated stairways will bring the respective gender to their bath area and jacuzzi pools before converging later at the mixed spa and recreation area.

Once we hit the locker rooms, it’s Full Monty! Just a quick shower bath and we hit the jacuzzi pools. Given the nudity content, I will have to describe the next few scenes.

There was 1 big central hot jacuzzi pool surround by 4 smaller cold pools of varying temperature. The idea is to dip into the hot bath and when it gets too hot, cool off at the cold pools before repeating the cycle again. There was also a steam room.

I was still recovering from running nose and flu. The warm pool and steam room feels really relaxing after a long day and my flu just seem to melt away into the warm water. I can’t say the same for the cold pools though. I am giving them the miss.

It got really hot after a while since I am not touching any of the cold pools. After a hot bath to wash off the jacuzzi water, we were getting ready to leave.

It suddenly hit Raymond how the Jimgilbang differentiate guests who were staying overnight. We were not given the night robes….he went to say that there was still unique areas upstairs that should not be missed.

S

hucks… How? Shall we pay? Definitely not! There was a nearby basket at the grooming with the used robes. We rationalised that their past users having came out from the bath, should not have soiled the robes. can tahan for a while at least lah. :p

We sneak off individually with the robes and quickly slipped into them when the attendant was happily chatting with one of the guest. Tada! We are in.

The upper decks comprise of family rest and relax area like a reading corner, cafe and common tv room. There are also private rooms for friends to book for birthdays, anniversaries etc.

There are 2 other unique facilities conveniently located outside the common tv area. It’s the hot and cold sauna rooms.

Here’s how you enjoy them. First you go into the hot room where you have a silent reflection of the day. Btw it’s damn hot! And need to take care not to trip and fall in the kiln lest we burn ourselves on the hot central heating metal block.

When you absolutely can’t endure the heat anymore. Carefully make your way out and escape into the ice room!

The ice room is a wonderful relief from the heat! I have never felt more comfortable well at least for a while. Once the heat cools off, the chill will set in and you can then escap to the hot room and start the entire cycle again. The treatment may seen simple but your body feels highly relaxed. You just feel like sleeping immediately.

That’s the main reason why Raymond wanna sleep for awhile in the common sleeping room. This room is too dark for my iPhone to effectively snap photos so it’s only again descriptions only.

Visualize the mortuary where there is this huge fridge with individual drawers that house the deceased. The sleeping capsules look just exactly but in wood material, no doors and without the chill. The double decked capsule are furnished only with a body length cushion and a switch for lights if required. Here’s our best attempt to snap a pic of the capsule and the room. Ghost!

Raymond was sound asleep after a while but I could not take the heat. I wandered out to a more open concept sleeping area with comfortable aircon temperature.

Here’s where I sleep till 5am the next day morning!

I quickly went back to the capsule room to look for Raymond. It was really tough to identify him in the dark. After a few failed attempts, I decided to go back home first and wait for him there. It turned out that he had actually woke up at 2am and headed back home cos he could not find me.

And that marks the night jimgilbang adventure in Itaewon, Seoul.

Going for breakfast at Rotiboy now. Bye!

You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here

1 Comment on this Post

  1. > “my flu just seem to melt away into the warm water” <
    Thanks for "sharing"

    I love Korean saunas but wont use shared public baths.
    Too many people are inconsiderate or dirty.

    Reply

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